Saturday, December 31, 2011

101. Yaaaaaaale!


Yale application submitted! Audition appointment scheduled for February 5th at 10am.

Hooooooray!!! That's the third and last online application for the year. Whew!

Thank you alllll for your loving support in 2011.

2012 is going to rock!!! Wishing you all a fun and safe New Year's celebration. I hope that 2012 will be the year that you stop listening to the naysayers, eliminate all excuses and move steadily in the direction of your dreams.

I believe in you. Yeah...YOU!



"Early in my career, an agent of mine explained to me that acting is an "ethereal" profession. What she meant was that you cannot control it, so don't sweat it if you're not currently working the kind of jobs you desire...if you work diligently on your craft then you will grow as an artist, your structure will become strong, and you will attract fantastic jobs into your life...Action creates action...The Universe pays off to people who put it out there." - Jack Plotnick, New Thoughts For Actors

Thursday, December 29, 2011

100. First Choice

"There are no wrong choices, there's only the fear of making the wrong choices...Every path I take is perfect." - Leo Babauta, ZenHabits

Whenever I am talking with someone and the subject of applying to grad school comes up in conversation, inevitably this question is asked...

"Which school is your first choice?"

Ugh. It's SUCH a tough question. Truly...they are all my first choice...but for completely different reasons.

I am writing my personal statement for Yale right now. It's my second personal statement this year. (Juilliard was the first one I wrote. That was due on Dec 1st.)

Now, as I'm writing about why Yale is my ideal place for grad school I can't help but have this sinking feeling that I'm "two-timing" Juilliard with Yale... SCANDAL! And just WAIT until I get to writing my heartfelt-love-letter-personal-statement to NYU...then I'm REALLY going to feel like a floozy...

Juuuuust proclaiming my undying devotion and loyalty to all three schools at the same time. So promiscuous!

In my defense....They're all attractive to me. They each have unique qualities to bring to the relationship. I would be very happy devoting myself heart-and-soul to all of them!!! (Not at the same time, of course.) 

I do LOVE them all.

I guess, it's sort of like writing cover letters for job applications... You commit 100% to explaining why that job is PERFECT for you and why you are PERFECT for the job...all the while... knowing that you're just throwing it out there and the rest is up to them...or to chance or the universe or God or the Tao or whatever you believe in.

I mean...the love's got to be reciprocated for it to be a healthy relationship, right?

Sooooo I guess I'll spread my love seeds to all three schools and see if any of them fall on fertile it were.


I mean, life is going to go in whatever direction that it will. All you can hope to do true to your own heart and prepare yourself to be flexible enough to take the opportunities as they come.... and have as much fun as you can in the process, right?


Here's some great inspiration for Yale Personal Statement writing... Just in case you're working on that tonight too... Or in case you're like... "Yale? What the heck is that silly school of drama all about anyway and why is Virginia getting so lovey-dovey about it?"

See below...the world-famous acting guru...Mr. Ron Van Lieu...

And, don't forget about Mr. James Bundy!!! He's a GEM... One of my faves... A truly inspiring theatre professional...

Oh, Yale... I do love you... Yes. Yes, I do.


"A decision without tradeoffs isn't a decision. The art of good decision making is looking forward to and celebrating the tradeoffs." - Seth Godin

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

99. Failure Club

OMG!!!! This is the coooooolest show! Click on the link below...

(Every Friday on Yahoo! Screen...Watch out NBC...You've got some competition.)

Dude...We should all be in Failure Club.

Start your own!!!!!

Why Failure Club is awesome...
1. Provides accountability
2. Provides moral support
3. You can help motivate others as you, yourself, are motivated
4. You can talk through your psychological issues and fears with others who can empathize and encourage you
5. Somebody is there to notice your progress...and call you out when your are procrastinating
6. The group can give suggestions for resources and next steps
7. The group can help you work through your own resistance
8. You are putting yourself in a SAFE environment of supportive and knowledgeable people where you will be able to take RISKS and FAIL BIG...and realize that you can get through it and you'll be a more courageous human being as a result!

"But, I'm afraid!"... Set yourself up to succeed by giving yourself some SUPPORT.

Q: How do I build-up confidence?
A: Push through the fear and do something that TERRIFIES you!

It doesn't even matter what happens as a RESULT of that fearful action...success...failure...whatever...You will feel like a ROCK STAR...from just having DONE that thing that you've been sooooo afraid of doing.


The issues addressed on this show are allllll the things that successful people MUST work through in order to  be okay with failure and ... BE SUCCESSFUL!

My question to YOU:
If you knew that allllll you had to do to make your dreams come true was overcome your fear of failing... could you do it?



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

98. The Best Kind Of Help

I was sad one day and went for a walk; I sat in a field.

A rabbit noticed my condition and came near.

It often does not take more than that to help at times --

to just be close to creatures who
are so full of knowing,
so full of love
that they don't--

they just gaze with
their marvelous understanding.

-- "A Rabbit Noticed My Condition" by 16th-century mystic Saint John of the Cross

Monday, December 26, 2011

97. Comfortably Uncomfortable

"An atmosphere of growth brings great happiness, but at the same time, happiness sometimes also comes when you're free from the pressure to see much growth." - Gretchin Rubin, The Happiness Project

I love the feeling of pushing myself to do something outside of my comfort-zone.

I also love the feeling of being comfortable and doing something I know I do well.

How does one strike a balance? As artists, we always want to be challenging ourselves in our work... but how much is too much?

Only YOU can know your own limits...and only YOU can motivate yourself to push beyond them...or not.

And how to do all of this in a self-loving way?...Allowing yourself to be where you're at, yet still maintaining the desire and momentum to grow?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Sometimes it is necessary to stop being lazy and get to work... Sometimes it is necessary to stop working and be lazy.

Do what cha gotta do. And be honest with yourself about it.

Can you challenge yourself to do a little bit more today? Or do you need to slow down and do a little bit less?

Both can lead to happiness. Only YOU know which one is right for you in this moment.


"I take no action and people are reformed. I enjoy peace and people become honest. I do nothing and people become rich. If I keep from imposing on people, they become themselves." - 57th Verse, Tao Te Ching

Sunday, December 25, 2011

96. Create Yourself

"I love the chemistry that can be created onstage between the actors and the audience. It's molecular even, the energies that can go back and forth. I started in theater. and when I first went into movies I felt that my energy was going to blow out the camera." - Glenn Close

Sooooo my Christmas gift to myself today was to treat myself to a film...a great film. I chose to see Albert Nobbs starring Glenn Close at The Film Society of Lincoln Center. (Though Glenn Close is not a graduate of NYU, Yale or Juilliard...I am happy to feature her on this we all does NOT need to have an MFA from one of these schools to be a great actor.)

Albert Nobbs is an incredibly beautiful film filled with subtle and emotionally resonant performances. I would like to call your attention to one particular scene where Albert Nobbs (a woman who has been passing as a man for 30 years in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland) is asked a simple question..."What's your real name?"... Watch the clip...Then let's discuss...

Awesome. Isn't Glenn Close brilliant!? Sooooo much going on in that reaction, yet so simple. LOVE it.

This scene got me thinking about the realities we all create for ourselves. She's been living as a man for 30 YEARS!!! That is a looooooong time to be playing a much so that she's BECOME Albert. That's her IDENTITY now. She identifies herself only as Albert, but she is in fact a WOMAN. I love the complexity of that!

And aren't we all complex in that way? Okay, maybe not so much with the gender-bending thing...but in other ways...We identify ourselves with certain labels that we fully believe...because we've created a reality for ourselves where that has become our truth...(ex. I am an actor. I like earl grey tea. I live in Astoria.)

So...what order to survive in 21st century America...I had to completely change my reality, my identity and make myself into somebody else in order to live the life I want to live? Could I give up earl grey tea? Could I give up my identity? Could I move to a different city? Change my name? What kind of trauma would cause me to need to make such changes?

I find all of that fascinating...Mostly because...I feel like I AM doing that...creating my new reality...Only, I'll keep my name and I am not giving up earl grey tea. But I have completely changed the circumstances of where I live and where I work and redefining my identity as an artist...all in the name of survival...creative survival.

The creative direction of my life was NOOOOT leading me in the direction that I wanted to go. So I'm creating a new reality, where I am able to be who I am...who I see myself as...who I am becoming.

I mean, if you felt like who you had become was not working out so well or not making you happy...who's to say you can't change? Become the person you want to become. The person you know you want to be, deep inside. Live as this person...act as this person would act...until you believe it in your core...and love yourself as much as possible...Albert could probably stand to throw in a little more self-loving, I think. But, man, she's super brave for transforming herself and recreating her life on her own terms.

She knows who she is... because she's created herself. She is Albert.

I think that's courageous. Courage is what I see when I watch the clip above. But like with any great may see something completely different reflected back at you.

Thoughts? Care to share? Disagree with me? Would love to hear other perspectives. Comments are always welcome below.


P.S. Merry Christmas!

P.P.S. Submitted my NYU application and scheduled my audition for 9am on Sunday, January 22nd. Yay!!!

P.P.P.S. Only one more application left to complete...Yale. That's next on the agenda...Last, but not least. :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

95. Premonitions Of Nostalgia

"Your primary relationship needs to be with yourself, not your family, business, country, culture, or ethnicity. Affirm: The number one priority in my life is my relationship with my Source of being. Go there first, before any other considerations, and you'll automatically discontinue demanding more of anything else. You'll begin to emulate the Tao effortlessly, living heaven on earth." - Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

I'm not going home to Walnut Creek for Christmas this year. In fact, I hardly ever make it home for Christmas. Historically, this has simply been because I am either... A. working or B. can't afford a plane ticket. However, neither really apply this year... yet, I am still not traveling home for Christmas. Why? Well, this year's reason is a little more complex...

I am staying in New York for emotional self-protection.

I don't know how that may sound to you upon first-read, but let me explain a bit...

My parents were married for 30 years...and recently they decided to divorce. So Christmas at "home" is not what it once was. And being with my family in California brings up a lot of very deep-rooted emotional feelings for me...feelings that I'm still in the process of working through...that our whole family is in the process of working through.

"You should never sacrifice yourself in an attempt to save someone else. You cannot save anyone but yourself. When you make a strong commitment for something important that represents the next step in your evolution, you need to put boundaries around it and protect it from all the energies that are not compatible. This may require some hard choices of cutting off certain relationships, practices, habits and influences. If it does not feel good, say no and don't do it. If it feels good, say yes and go for it. You don't need to know how or why." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Now, because I'm challenging myself big-time with this HUGE goal that means sooooo much to me (namely, this blog and this grad-school application thing) and it's required a ton of energy and focus for me to stick-with-it emotionally and stay positive and stay motivated and keep myself in a healthy-happy-mind-set...for all of these reasons...I needed to set a boundary for myself to protect this dream and to stay in New York for Christmas.

"Commitment is more about saying "no" than "yes." - Jennifer Gresham, Everyday Bright

I have to protect my energy and my focus right now. I cannot allow myself to be thrown-for-a-loop by things that I know I cannot control. I only have so much strength and have to acknowledge my limitations.

"Don't let the "shoulds" of false responsibilities and expectations of others derail you from being fully present, awake and engaged in what you know you need to do for yourself." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

I LOOOOOVE my family and would LOVE to be able to be there for them right now, but I can't. I have to be selfish and know that they will understand (which I think they do)... or even if they don't understand... that they'll get over it eventually and be excited to see me next year when I do choose to come home for Christmas (hopefully, during my winter-break from grad school)!

However, I do miss my family... a lot...especially this weekend! And it's lonely waking up in my apartment alone on Christmas Eve.

This morning I woke up thinking about the things that I miss...And I realized that a lot of the things I miss about Christmases of my past are things that don't even exist anymore...people have passed away...grown up...moved on...I'm nostalgic about a memory. What I miss most are things that I would not experience right now anyway...even if I was in California for the holiday.

There was something comforting in realizing that I'm longing to re-live the feeling of something that has passed. Because it made me realize that by staying in New York on Christmas, I'm not depriving myself of these things that I miss...because those things only exist in my mind. The truth is...I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.

It's also comforting for me to think that... years from now...I will probably think back and miss THIS moment too! I'll think fondly back about that time when I lived in Astoria (now) and was gloriously free on Christmas Day to sleep in 'til when ever and treat myself to a attachments...just what ever I wanted to do...where ever I wanted to go...with whom ever I wanted to be with. I can definitely imagine my future self longing for that feeling of freedom again.

So why not enjoy this moment now? all it's complexity of emotion.

As you are experiencing your own "moments" this weekend with your loved ones during your holiday festivities...remember to take-in the bittersweet joy and pain of each moment.. because there will never be another one quite like it. Isn't that both beautiful and heart-breaking?

Life is simple like that, life is complicated like that...and life is precious.

Every moment of  "the now" is a beautiful moment that will never be repeated. 

So don't forget, k?


"The reality is that beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. So when you know that there's a constant beyond the present moment's disappointment, you can sense that "this too shall pass" -- it always has and it always will. when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!" - Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

Thursday, December 22, 2011

94. What Does Freedom Mean To You?

"There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation who work long hard hours at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like." - Nigel Marsh

Ahhhh, consumerism. Why do we buy into you?

Accumulating things does not lead to long-term happiness. It's so disappointing. The momentary pleasure of getting something NEW is soooo fleeting...and then you're left with mounting debt and mounting regret.

DEBT FREE. Let's all get THERE.

Here's some inspiration... Watch this.

I have to say...Life is all about EXPERIENCES. And the experience of attending grad school will be one I know I will NEVER regret investing in.

That's why I am 100,000% willing to give up my "cushy" day-job with retirement package security in order to be able to live the life of a working actor and do the thing that I am most passionate about. That makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning! That is my idea of FREEDOM. The freedom to fearlessly do what I love: act (and get paid).

Now, I must say...since I am writing a post about debt...that I am very aware that grad school is not FREE. And NYU and Juilliard are both veeeeery expensive, even with financial aid.

Yale, however, is a different story. I must give kudos to them on the money issue. The financial aid package at Yale is beyond wonderful. And by wonderful...I mean, you can graduate with veeeery little debt... (They're not as enlightened as schools that actually pay YOU to study there, but nobody's perfect.) When they explained the details of the financial aid opportunities at the Yale Visitor's Day, I audibly gasped with JOY! don't want to quote actual numbers for Yale, because I know that I'll probably get it wrong, but let's just say that their financial aid package puts NYU and Juilliard to shame.

I know NYU is making an effort to endow more scholarships every year, so they're getting there. I've gone to a couple of their fund raising events and they are making progress! The faculty and administrative staff are keenly aware of the stresses of the financial burden that their recent graduates are dealing with daily. And I am sure that Juilliard is doing their best as well, though I am not as familiar with the financial assistance opportunities they offer for MFA students since this is my first time applying there.

But Yale...WOW...they have got it figured out. They really make an Ivy League education affordable...and that's really admirable. Because debt is REAL. Those student loans are NOT going to pay themselves off.  Yale's financial aid package allows people (such as myself) that don't come from money and have had to pay their own way...the freedom to be able to consider Yale as a viable choice...regardless of economic background. Bravo, Yale, bravo!

(Please do not take my word for it...when it comes to all this financial stuff. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at each school for detailed, accurate and current information.)

Anyway, I look at grad school as an investment... an investment and a life experience that will forever transform me. matter the cost...I know it will be worth it. And I'll pay off the debt eventually. But less is more in this arena...for sure.

Be free to do what you love and love what you do. Never fear. Money will come.


P.S. If you ever want to make a social situation reeeeeally awkward, just start up a conversation with someone you hardly know and ask them about their MONEY. That'll make them uuuuuncomfortable. Talking finances is the new TABOO. "Shhhhh! Don't talk about THAT. We can talk all you want about sex, but money? I don't think so...that's personal." Ever encounter that attitude? The logic escapes me... Just makin' an observation... Our society is weird.  ;-p

"Riches, when they come in huge quantities, are never the result of HARD work! Riches come, if they come at all, in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck." - Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

93. So Much Good Stuff

"Decide to be happy and the world will beat a path to your door." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Okay, so I'm going a little bit crazy with all the awesomeness that's been coming my way lately. I feel like the Universe is listening to me and bringing me EXACTLY who I need into my life right and left. It's uncanny!

The only thing I can think to explain that when you're super clear about what you want and you keep putting it out there...that that's what you want...well, eventually it comes to you... it walks through the door and says hello...and more than that...hugs you and makes you feel like you're reuniting with an old friend...when you've only just met.

...So that's THAT awesomeness.

Annnnd there's THIS awesomeness that Juilliard just uploaded to their YouTube channel...

I love modern technology. When I was graduating high school, I didn't have access to stuff like this video. I feel like it demystifies the whole "Juilliard" fortress and makes the school seem HUMAN and accessible...which it IS! Soooo coool! And very well-done as well. Love the music and the editing. They really did an awesome job with it. They definitely succeed in making me want to apply...which, HOORAY...I am.

(My audition for Julliard will be January 28, 2012, by the way...So you can mark your calendars to PRAY for me that day or send me GOOD-VIBES or send me your love, luck, support, whatever...I will take it all! It's alllllll much appreciated!)

Another awesome thing...

Anyone remember Jack Plotnick from waaaaaaay back when in post number 42? Wellllll, he was in New York this week doing some acting workshops. I was LUCKY enough to get a spot and had a freakin' amazing experience. I was AGAIN reminded that I am a terrible judge of my own work. It seems that when I am at my most UNCOMFORTABLE and UNCERTAIN...that's when I am doing my best work.

So my question is...How can I get more comfortable with being uncomfortable and more certain that uncertainty leads to brilliance?

Ha ha ha! That's how my brain works...MUST BE COMFORTABLE...MUST BE CERTAIN...But for acting that also means...MUST BE BORING. So... gotta let go of the need to be comfortable.

Jack's got some amazing tools for doing just that and sooooo much more in his book New Thoughts For Actors. Check it out. It's FREE. And he's on YouTube toooooo!!!


Let's see... What else?

Had a motivating lunch with MyBodyTutor, Adam Gilbert and two other MBT clients...the talented and wonderful Nick Dothee and Abby Burke. In November, I practically fell completely off the MBT radar...Got sooooo overwhelmed with work. But now I'm back...and ready to increase my fitness for 2012 and beyond! Yay! It helps to hear how many great things Nick and Abby have to say about the way they feel from eating healthy and exercising. It seriously changes your brain chemistry and makes the world seem like a better place. True story.

OHHHHH! And... memorization...remember how freaked-out I was about getting those monologues in my brain...all FOUR of them. Well, this is my new favorite memorization secret...I currently learn lines best on the elliptical machine. I did three consecutive days of 30 minutes on the elliptical...reading a monologue out loud...over...and over...and the third day...I was completely off book! I mean, WOW!!!! I learned that monologue in an-hour-and-a-half over three days. I think that's pretty freakin' fast.

Yes... I did look like a crazy person talking to myself. Did I care? NOOOO! If it'll help get me into grad school...I'm happy to look like a crazy person at the gym any day.

I was AMAZED at how fast the memorization happened with this concentrated tv...just my script, my breath and my heart beat. Yes! It's incredible how the body and the mind are connected. I don't know why I'm so surprised by that...but it's just crazy to think that the best way to remember words (which I think of as an intellectual thing) is to move the body (a physical thing). So I will continue with this mind/body technique until all four monologues are second-nature to me.

Still gotta submit my online applications for NYU and Yale...hoping to get to that this weekend.

But everything's in the works and movin' and I am excited by all the support the Universe brings when you initiate some forward motion.

So keep on keepin' on, people!


"The fat lady hasn't started singing yet, but she's holding the mike and the band is about to play." - Craig Moffett, Investment Analyst

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

92. For Your Consideration

When evaluating a thought or action, ask yourself this question:

Does this come from a place of LOVE or a place of FEAR?

Love = Keep going with that

Fear = Let that go and get back to LOVE


Monday, December 19, 2011

91. Prepare For Your Great Work

"When [actors] are talking, they are servants of the dramatist. It is what they can show the audience when they are not talking that reveals the fine actor." - Cedric Hardwicke

Have you guys seen Terrence Malick's Tree of Life? If not, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you do. It's a BEAUTIFUL film.

There is very little dialogue in the film. Most of the storytelling is told visually or with voiceover. Words really cannot describe the feelings that this film evokes. It's incredibly moving. But, like an impressionist painting, you see what you want to see in the film. It allows you to reflect on your own life and childhood...all the magic and promise and confusion and pain that we all experience as we grow up, observing our parents and begining to think for ourselves, ... trying to make sense of the world we've inherited, struggling with the things we cannot control and do not understand, both inside ourselves and external events.

Again, words fail....I am having some difficulty in articulating the incredible experience of watching this film.

Just see it. Then you'll know.

Juilliard graduate Jessica Chastain plays the mother in the film. Her performance is LUMINARY.

And after watching this film, it got me thinking... I am sooooo glad that she took the time to study and to prepare herself for this kind of great work. Because her performance is such a gift to the audience. Soooo many people will see this film and be reminded of the ethereal beauty of their own mothers, when they see her through the mind's eye of a small child.

Her on-camera state of BEING and vulnerable honesty is so incredibly POWERFUL to watch. She makes it look soooo simple and effortless...but it is only through the journey of incredible preparation that one attains that kind of mastery.

I came across this great interview where Jessica says this of her time at Juilliard:

"I had four years of very, very, hard, difficult,wonderful training in Shakespeare and Ibsen and Strindberg and Chekhov. It kind of set me up that no matter what I work on in the future it will never be as hard as the four years at Juilliard."


Isn't that AWESOME? I want to go through that kind of training and feel that prepared to tackle any project! Yes, please!!!!

This has been a truly amazing year for Ms. Chastain. Her performances in sooooo many great films recently, have made her a NAME now. But all her great success didn't happen overnight. She's been preparing for this great work her whole life. And now she's being recognized for doing the great work that she was put on this planet to do!

Yay, Jessica!!! Thanks for sticking with it!

For more on Jessica's awesome year CLICK HERE TO READ her interview with Backstage.

Preparation is soooooo important. It's the foundation that you build from. It's your creation palette.

What are you doing today to prepare for your great work of tomorrow?

You've got a gift. Prepare to GIVE it in the best way possible. Start now.


"It's like once you're prepared, truly prepared to carry on for as long as it takes, you'll quickly find, as all movers and shakers have before you, that it doesn't take long at all. Surrender to the path, and go." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe


Sunday, December 18, 2011

90. Half-Way Give-Away

"Whenever you set out to do what's never been done before, or never been done in the way you want to do it, you risk losing all sorts of things -- time that could have been spent doing something else, money that could have been saved, prestige, status, income, or the perception of security. But the possibility of loss is also a signpost that what you're doing really matters, that you're vested in both the process and the outcome. Knowing that fuels a deeper commitment to action and to striving not just to create something, but to create something amazing." - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty

Guess what day it is???? It's Half-Way Day!!! Acceptance Project is half-way done TODAY. 90 blog posts posted and 90 more to go! Hoooooraaaayyyyyy!

Your readership and your sticktoitiveness is sooooo valuable to me in this process. Thanks for subscribing! You are all a gift to me.

Thank YOU!!!!!

And so in honor of you and in honor of this day, I would like you give you a gift!

I have three copies of Jonathan Fields' book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance sitting on my desk and I would like to send one to YOU!

As you may remember, I've posted about the wonderfulness of this book in blog posts 48. Your Creative Calling and 37. Uncertainty. So if you need a refresher as to WHY this book is so freakin' awesome...then check out those posts.

Now, back to me sending you a FREE book...

If you would like to be the recipient of one of these three FREE copies of Uncertainty, here's how:

1. Send me an email (viavirginiawilcox at gmail dot com) with "Half-Way Give-Away" in the subject line.

2. Share a little about a goal you are working toward right now... your dreams, hopes, fears, resistance, aspirations surrounding this goal... And tell me why you think you would benefit from receiving a copy of the book. How do you think it will help you?

3. Send me this email by 11:55pm EST, Monday, December 19, 2011

4. I will reply to every email I receive for this give-away. I will select three of the most passionate emails, send you a free copy of Uncertainty to the mailing address of your choice, and (with your permission) share a little bit about your story with the other Acceptance Project blog readers in a future post. So we can all cheer you on and be supporters of you in pursuing your dreams!!!

Hopefully, you'll receive the book by Christmas...and can snuggle-up on the couch with a nice cup of tea and a blanket and soak-in all the inspiring wisdom and practical tools in Uncertainty. Who knows? 2012 may be be your break-through year!...And it could all start with one tiny little email...So if there's any part of you that resonates with the themes of this book...DON'T PROCRASTINATE...Write me that email right now. What do you have to lose?

Thanks for sticking with me and making it to post 90.

I mean, isn't that crazy? 90 blog posts. Wow...Can't believe it! Time flies.

Send me your email! Can't wait to hear your story.


"Not everyone is shut down by uncertainty, risk of loss, and fear of judgment. All around us, we hear stories of writers, painters, dancers, coders, entrepreneurs, and innovative corporate teams who appear to  have near-superhuman ability to dance with the elements of creation that terrify most people. In doing so, they create stunning art, businesses, solutions, and experiences. Are these people just freaks of nature? Are they somehow wired differently? What gives them the ability to lean into the emotions and experiences that shut most other people down?...What are these things that would allow us to become fear alchemists, to transform the circumstances that would normally terrify us into fuel for creative brilliance?" - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty

Saturday, December 17, 2011

89. Learn From The Best

"I have a lot left to learn. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I know almost nothing, and that I’m often wrong about what I think I know. Life has many lessons left to teach me, and I’m looking forward to them all." - Leo Babauta,

I want to be a life-long-learner. Part of this whole journey of wanting to get back to school and get my MFA in acting has been motivated by my desire to continue to LEARN and, specifically, learn how to create a sustainable and fulfilling career as an artist.

Hence...applying to NYU, Yale & Juilliard...arguably three of the BEST acting programs in the US. What better place to submit to the process of learning about the craft?

Observing New Yorkers since I moved here in 2007 has expanded my perception of what is possible for ordinary people to be able to do in the world. Being here has made me more aware of the impact that everyone is making on our society every day...and the question is.. What kind of contribution are you making today? And what more would you like to do if you showed a little initiative and guts?

These are the kinds of questions that NY has caused me to ask myself.

I am surrounded by successful people EVERYWHERE. People making their living doing EXACTLY what they are passionate about, taking risks, not compromising and making a great living from their work. This is incredibly inspiring to me.

So now that I KNOW that this kind of life is possible and that even regular people are doing it. I have to do I make this a REALITY for me?

A little background on my experience as an actor in NY...

In 2009, I went to over 200 theatre auditions here. I got three callbacks and booked one show.

That. Was. An. Exhausting. Year.

Just awful.

Let's not even talk about how devastating that year was for me financially or psychologically... Needless to say, to continue with that approach to my career was not a sustainable business model or healthy for my soul.

However, I acknowledge that I am an experiential learner...and I feel like I had to experience that awfulness for myself in order to know that it wasn't going to work for me.

Picture this...

200 mornings...waking up at the crack-of-dawn to stand in line with hundreds of other "me" types...all of us wanting jobs...needing to pay our rent...hoping to get an audition appointment and be "seen" for 2 minutes...sing our 16-bar-cut or speak a short monologue...and maaaaaybe be remembered by the casting assistant's intern behind the audition hopes that you'd be that one "perfect" person for the job and your headshot would end up in front of someone with "actual casting authority." Such is the life of an agent-less actor. I realized that even with my Equity Card it was a looooong shot, but I kept "showing up" because I thought it was a numbers game...and EVENTUALLY I'd book something...and then I'd be "happy." Well...eventually, I did book a job...but...HAPPY?...Not so much. That job was not creatively fulfilling and it was over, start-to-finish, in less than 5 months...and back to the audition circuit I'd go.

This is not what I thought life as an actor would be...this life is not fun. Why do I feel like I'm desperately begging for a job every day? Bleh.

"Wrong approach, Wilcox. Sorry, Sweet Heart. The juice ain't worth the squeeze."

"There's gotta be a better way!"

I had to do SOMETHING differently. Because giving up acting for good was NOT AN OPTION.

I thought to myself, "You're not in Northern California anymore, Virginia. This is N.Y.C. There are new rules to this game. And you've got to learn them and figure out how YOU are going to be able to play YOUR way and not feel like you're being played. How are you going to be able to create an acting career in New York City that's... A. economically sustainable (gotta pay the rent and not get into debt) and B. creatively fulfilling (this is what you LOVE to do, right?) Being actor in NY is NOT an easy task or for the faint-of-heart or the "dabbler." You've got to be COMMITTED to failing and taking risks and thinking outside-the-box in order to LEARN how to make this career happen for you."

And I discovered that...I don't like feeling like the "long-shot" at an audition. I hate walking into the room and feeling like the casting director is thinking, "Virginia Wilcox, who? And why should I care?...NEXT." Actually...that's what I was thinking when I walked into the room...And THAT was the REAL problem.

I realized that I had get to a place in my own head where I could feel like the "sure-thing"... Eventually, I would like to be the person that walks into the audition room and the casting director's reaction is "Oh, thank goodness Virginia Wilcox is here. I love her work." So how do I get THERE?

I am still in the process of discovering the answer to this question. I'm hoping that part of the answer will be the confidence and exposure I will gain from my grad school experience.

But the most urgent question that pertains to NOW... is... What do I need to do TODAY to get myself on that path?

"It's often from a sense of discontent, feelings of incompleteness, or even a twinge of true unhappiness that the seeds of great accomplishment are sown." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

I didn't want to buy into the "starving actor" mentality anymore. I'm not interested in "surviving" as an actor. I want to THRIVE as an actor.

So, what did I do after my marathon 200 audition year? I did what every self-respecting actor/actress in their right mind would do...I stopped auditioning and got a "day-job."

F*%k auditioning...I have to eat, make rent and these credit card bills are NOT going to pay themselves.


But what about acting? Was Virginia Wilcox giving up?! Maybe... maybe not...

"A young woman with an extra ten or twenty thousand in her pocket has a lot more room to maneuver than a girl who's broke at the end of every month...There's no disgrace in waiting tables if it's part of a long-term strategy." - Hugh MacLeod (taken from Tim Ferris' blog)

I knew I needed to figure out a strategy before I could move forward again... I knew that what I'd been doing wasn't working and wasn't making me happy and that if I continued on that path that it'd ultimately lead me to damage my love for acting (NO!!!). I couldn't let the challenges and competitive nature of the "business" destroy my desire to participate in this art form.

But what exactly was getting in my way? How could I approach all this in a smarter more fulfilling way?

And more specifically, was I really ready and willing to let go of everything in my life that's keeping me from my goal...thoughts, habits, relationships...anything that doesn't support me or has become unhealthy and no longer serves me...Would I really be brave enough to let it all go in service to my dream?


Needs support.

Needs inspiration.

Needs to know that the juice will be worth the squeeze.

I became drawn to stories of successful people and how they became who they are today. Though many famous people I admire have amazing stories...I felt a certain distance from many of their tales because a lot of them started out with more resources in life than I felt I had. So, in my mind, I thought...well...NATURALLY they'd be successful...if they came from money... or if they were BORN into a family of industry leaders...or they found an influential MENTOR early in their life that enabled them entry into their field of choice. But those were not my circumstances.

So I kept searching until I found a story of an ORDINARY person, with similar resources to my own, no significant advantages to speak of, that found a smart and self-loving way to make their dreams happen in spite of the odds...

And that person was not an actor (surprise!) and came from the most unlikely of places...Guam...His name is Leo Babauta and it's his success story that has inspired me the MOST!

From Leo I have learned HOW to get over resistance to doing something you've never thought yourself capable of before and HOW changing your life in small ways can lead to changing your life in BIG ways...


If Leo found a way to achieve his goals, then I can too! And my way may be slightly different than his way...but I will use his tools and adapt them to my own needs.

Some improve-your-habits-to-change-your-life guidance from Leo:

  • Do one habit at a time.
  • Make it easy to do.
  • Do it consciously, very consciously at first.
  • Don't allow any exceptions.
  • Post your progress publicly.
  • Keep doing it every single day.
  • Enjoy the habit.

Sounds like a description of AcceptanceProjectNYC, huh?

Yes. I am totally unoriginal. All my good ideas are stolen and regurgitated from others.

Maybe that's my true calling...selective regurgitation.  ;-)


Leo inspires me because his is a story of an ORDINARY man, with ORDINARY resources, and with EXTRAORDINARY aspirations. He has completely changed his life... all because he was unhappy with the way things were going and he wanted a change. And he figured out a way to make the changes in his life soooooo easy and soooooo simple, that he couldn't make excuses for not doing it. For him, he made TINY thing at a time, one day at a time, step by step, inch by inch...nothing sweeping or grand. But NOW...all of those little moment-to-moment decisions have added up and he's living the life of his DREAMS and loving the life he's created.

I've been following his blog for a couple of years now. He's had such a HUGE impact on my life. But it's funny... I've never contacted him once, or commented on his blog or anything. He's changed my life by telling his story and he'll probably never know my name!

That's the beauty of the internet, I suppose. You put yourself out there...and somebody's happy to read what you've written. (You'll never really know the impact you've had on people. And that's probably best anyway, 'cause it's really too overwhelming to process psychologically.)

Thank you, Leo...for sharing your story. It has motivated me to stop sitting around and waiting for the life I wanted to find me...Now I'm taking action to create it, one tiny moment and one blog post at a time.

So hopefully, in the future I'll be able to make a whole huge awesome list of things I've accomplished with these baby steps...things that will have great meaning to me...because I took the reigns of my own life and did what I could to get the ball rolling.

I'm my own knight in shining armor...saving my own inner damsel in distress. And I know that no matter what happens with the "outcome" of this grad school goal, we're gonna live happily ever after.

Thank you to all of YOU, my readers, who CARE about pursuing your dreams! Please know that I am personally invested in your success! It's always such a thrill for me to press "send" and know that you're reading! And I'll keep showing up on this blog...6 days a week. Because I TRULY BELIEVE that you can create EXACTLY the kind of life you've always secretly imagined, by doing a little bit every day to move yourself in the direction of your dreams.

We're gonna get there, people. Where ever "there" is exactly...will become clear later. But, right now, at least we're on the way.

You may say that I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one,

"Think only as you can think, which will lead to feelings that only you can feel, from which connections will be made, lives will be changed, and worlds will come tumbling into existence." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Thursday, December 15, 2011

88. In Love

"If you are doing something that you don't enjoy and you don't have the gratification of success, failure is particularly painful. But doing what you love is itself the reward." - Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

You know what is the most amazing feeling in the world? Doing what you love and realizing in that very moment... that you truly LOVE it.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Just had the most kick-ass monologue coaching session with Kathryn Bild. Love this character I get to play soooo much! She has so many great ideas! Just saying the words and getting to live truthfully in her imaginary that's my idea of PLAY!!!! Oh, it makes me feel like a KID!

I am seriously IN LOVE with acting.

"Absence diminishes commonplace passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and kindles fire." - Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld, moralist (1613-1680)

It's so funny to me... how my hiatus from acting has made me soooooo aware of how much I relish every single moment that I get to do it now. I cannot WAIT to get back to it full-time and stop renting my soul to big-business-on-Madison-Ave.

Cannot wait to say...

"It's been fun, Madison Ave...Learned a lot from you... but I've seen the writing on the wall. You and I are not meant to be together forever. You've helped me to survive in New York and for that I am truly grateful. But it's just a matter of time before we shall be parting ways. Don't worry...there will be another happy monkey (or 20) to fill my seat. I promise. Soon you won't even remember that I was ever a part of your world. Wish I could say I'll miss you...but I just don't think so. Thanks for the support, though, and for the free lunches and for the memories. Bye-bye."

Sigh...soon... very soon.

"Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it." - Hardy D. Jackson

I have come to the realization that if I am going to contribute my life's energy to something...I want that something to be telling stories through acting...not working on Excel spreadsheets and answering phones and administratively assisting.

I could work for the rest of my life behind a desk and be very "successful" and surround myself with comforts and be safe. But... it wouldn't FEEL successful to me. Because I don't WANT to work behind a desk. I don't LOVE that kind of life. I know that I have so much more to give than my 60wpm. I want a job that MOVES me.. that challenges me!!! ... Where I can use my body, my mind, my soul, my thoughts and my brain to BE INSIDE another person's story... thus expanding my own life experience and the experiences of others.

I get so ridiculously giddy about being able to say lines and pretend to be someone else. I am a total goof-ball! It's actually embarrassing how "into it" I am. I mean, I wish I could be a little more "cool" about it...But it'd just be a freakin' lie. I am a total geek. Hee, hee!!!

Acting is so f-ing FUN!!!!!

DO THE WORK THAT YOU LOVE, PEOPLE! Whatever it is. Do it. Then sleep. Then eat. Then do more of the thing that you LOVE. Then repeat. Then take a bathroom break. Then more of the love thing. Feel your blood pumping and your heart opening? Yeah. That's IT! That's your spending your life WELL. Keep going... And then repeat. Endlessly repeat.


"The best career advice to give the young is, find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." - Katherine Whilehaen

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

87. Victimization Antitoxin

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." - Charles F. Kettering, inventor & engineer (1876 - 1958)

Ok... Here's my problem...

People sometimes do or say things that I don't like... That affect my life in a negative way... Or upset me... Or hurt my feelings... Or cause me frustration or discomfort.

And my reaction? Well... what I want to do naturally and what is easiest to do in my VILLAINIZE them. They are the "bad" guy and I am the "good" guy. And if I can just DESTROY them, then I will WIN.

This is my EGO talking.

Now, when I'm in touch with my own true spirit...(and reality)...I realize that I don't actually want to destroy anyone. What I really want... and my real problem to solve is...How do I get back to feeling GOOD again about my relationship with that person?

That is a problem well-stated.

I know I have the ability to choose to be the bigger person and start us on the road to relationship recovery... or I can choose to feed the fire of discontentment and play games and get wrapped up in the drama of it all and be a martyr and wallow in my warm and cozy victimhood. This is my choice.

Though the task of neutralizing negative issues with people can be daunting and sometimes down right terrifying. When I am able to approach them with a truely loving attitude, I always feel better about it in the end...even if they totally don't get it and blow me off... at least I tried.

We've all got our bad days...Let's have compassion for one another and walk a mile in the other person's shoes before we start painting pictures of them in our minds...with evil grins and curly handle-bar mustaches.

Don't make yourself into a victim.

You do have the power to turn $*^t into roses.

Be brave. Be the one to make the first move toward reconciliation.

Forgiveness is cool.


As I was looking for quotes to include in this blog post, I realized that there were toooooo many good ones to limit it to just one or two. I have been contemplating how to better handle my frustrations with people for quite some time apparently... because, as you will see, the quotes I've amassed on this subject are numerous. Hope you enjoy them and you find one or two that hit close to home.


"Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, dramatist, novelist, philosopher (1749 - 1832)

"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist, Nobel laureate (1918-2008)

"You can always see the little girl or little boy in another, if you but look. And then how you can see that the mask they sometimes wear isn't to inspire your fear, but to hide their own." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, South African President

"Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases." - Proverbs 26:20

"Stop trying to control others and focus instead on being kind to them." - Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

"When someone behaves poorly, it's always because they've forgotten how powerful they really are." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

"Relationships: A good practice is to imagine that you are fully supporting another person in manifesting their intention. Gift them with their true desire. Then imagine that others are connecting with you in the same way; gifting you with your intention and cooperatively supporting you to have what you want." - Lena Stevens,  The Power Path

"If something is not working, don't take it personally. Examine the situation for lessons and ask how you can be more cooperative in order to shift things. Stay out of martyrdom as much as possible and always take a proactive position." - Lena Stevens,  The Power Path

"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

"Cut people slack...Their actions might not reveal their enduring character but instead reflect some situation they find themselves in. Forbearance is a form of generosity." - Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

"Being fair and reasonable will earn you respect and admiration, but being genuinely kind will make you a total love magnet." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

"I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." - Anne Frank (1929-1945)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

86. Fake It Til Ya Make It

"Action may not always be happiness...but there is no happiness without action." - Benjamin Disraeli in Lothair

I am sooooo not feeling it today.

It's one of those going-through-the-motions days. You know...when you're "here" but you're not really present.

Yup. Me-not-with-it = Today

However, I am taking comfort in the fact that I am still making it through the motions...I got out of bed, showed up to work on-time, accomplished things, spent time memorizing my classical monologue, ate well, got home from work at reasonable hour... and now I am going to the sweat and hopefully get out of this funk.

Nothing's "wrong"... in fact, everything is pretty damn awesome... comparatively. I just feel like all the joy was sucked out of my soul today. Maybe it's hormones? Maybe my body is fighting off that cold that everybody is getting? Maybe I don't have enough romance in my life? Maybe I need more sleep? Maybe I just need to step outside my bubble and get some freakin' perspective on the world? I do want to appreciate all my many blessings.

Maybe I'm just fine? Yup. Probably.

Soooo, I guess my strategy is to keep on faking-it like I'm feelin' good and continue taking action to do things that I know are good for me... like get my heart pumping at the gym... and hopefully my sense of inner joy will catch a hint and begin to feel more authentic.

Stickin' with it, though...whether I "feel" like it or no.

Stubbornly committed,

P.S. Lighten-up, Wilcox...laugh a little. That'll do you some good. ;-)

Monday, December 12, 2011

85. Shortcuts

"Why should there be a shortcut in learning how to act? How about just letting it take the time that it takes?" - Kathryn Bild, Acting From A Spiritual Perspective

Even with a job you LOVE to do, there may be certain aspects of it that you aren't particularly fond of. You muscle through the not-so-pleasant parts to get to the parts that you really, really enjoy because it's worth the effort.

As you all know... I love acting. It is my dream job. However, I don't love EVERYTHING about acting. There are certain requirements of the job that I find...challenging...and have some resistance to mastering.

One aspect in particular that I'm struggling with today is...MEMORIZATION.

I allllllways want to fast-forward to the part where I already know the lines. That part feels great!!! I love already having the lines memorized...It's the process of memorization that I often find slooooow and tedious.

I know that memorization is super important for quality acting. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, here's some solid advice from a pro:
"Know your damn lines. Know your lines inside and out, to the point at which they become secondhand...there's a certain ease that you have with your dialogue where you can play around. And the ability to play around comes with being prepared and knowing who your character is and what they're going to say. Then you can improv and do other things, because you have the roots and you can create the branches and leaves. But you have to know the fundamentals, and the most important fundamental is: Know what you're going to say." - Leonardo DiCaprio, Backstage, November 23, 2011, Interview with Jenelle Riley
I mean...I have to heartily agree with Mr. DiCaprio. Gotta know them lines!

Since I don't have a photographic memory and I'm not someone who can just glance at a script a couple times and miraculously know the words...I have to take lots of TIME to memorize. There's really no way around this.

I just have to stop spending my precious time WISHING I could memorize faster and start ACTUALLY reading the script out loud.

I am an auditory learner. So it helps for me to record myself saying the lines and listen to it while I'm walking or doing some kind of secondary activity. That helps it sink in to my brain.

Speaking the words is the best. The more I SAY them and actually feel them in my mouth...the better.

One thing that always worries me...Is that I'll get into a certain PATTERN in the way the words are spoken. But I have learned over the years that I actually use this "worry" as an excuse to procrastinate memorizing. And it's not really an issue for me at all...Just a fear.

I know that I am capable of breaking an ingrained vocal pattern...For example, I know one of Emily's monologues from Our Town better than anything (because I've been doing it since I was 13 years old)... and I have complete control in giving variety to the way I say that monologue... and for the very reasons that Mr. DiCaprio mentions above...I know EXACTLY what Emily is going to I can feel 100% free to PLAY with it and I am NEVER concerned about losing my place or forgetting what comes next. Not to say that I'm anticipating what's coming next...NO. I am perfectly free knowing that I can fully live in the moment and feel good knowing that the line for the next moment will be there for me when I need to access it in my brain. I could do that monologue while standing on my head and being pummeled with cream pies. Now THAT's a good feeling.

So...gotta get on this memorization thing for my monologues for grad school auditions...One's already memorized. I've got three more to go.

Sometimes writing it over and over again helps too. I do like writing.


Memorizing just takes so much TIIIIIIIME. I wish there was a computer chip I could insert into my brain with all of the info loaded onto it.

"There aren't shortcuts. Merely direct paths. Most people don't take them, because they frighten us. Things that look like shortcuts are usually detours disguised as less work." - Seth Godin

Stop whining, Wilcox! You're wasting your energy. The more you DO it the better you will get at it. So smile and do what you know will help you get the words in your head!

Allow yourself to enjoy the process.

It could be could be memorizing the periodic table of elements. Bleh!

...Where's my script!?


"I don't find acting very easy. It's a lot of hard work for me. But I love it. I love the homework, the research, and the solitude that goes into a part." - Bob Hoskins

Sunday, December 11, 2011

84. New York

Workin' on my online applications for Yale and NYU today...and listening to Alicia Keys sing my soul!


Keep dreamin'...realities will follow.


"Having a dream is more important than having it come true...They all come true eventually, only to be replaced by others. Until then, they turn you on, give you hope, and bring you closer to home." - Mike Dooley,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

83. The Flinch

"Change is easy in principle and hard in practice" - Julien Smith, The Flinch 

In order to implement real change in your life you have to learn how to deal with "The Flinch."

flinch: /flinCH/ - verb (used without object)
1. to draw back or shrink, as from what is dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant.
2. to shrink under pain; wince.

This ingrained flinch mechanism is often keeping us from living our dreams. We are unconsciously resisting the very changes we profess that we want in our lives.

First: You've got to become aware of the flinch. (It shows up in different ways for everyone.)

Second: You can take steps to train yourself to feel the flinch and still take action to overcome your fear. (One moment at a time.)

Third: You can get so practiced at dealing with your flinch, that you hardly notice it anymore. (FEARLESS!)

If any of the above intrigues you and you want to learn MORE, I highly recommend to you the following FREE resource:

The Flinch by Julien Smith (Available for free download with the Kindle and the Kindle app. Published by Seth Godin's The Domino Project.)

I don't have a Kindle. I just downloaded the Kindle app to my iPhone and now I've got The Flinch on my phone. It's my subway reading right now... and I am in LOVE with it! Had to share.

Download it! Read! Did I mention it's FREE? Don't put it off. You know you'll forget to do it later and it'll never happen and you'll have passed up an amazing book that could actually change your life. So do it NOW!


Let me know what you think.

If this whole MFA-in-Acting thing doesn't work out... I think I'll just get an MFA-in-Overcoming-Fear.

LOL! Actually... for me... that's pretty much the same degree.


What are you afraid of?

Get over it,

P.S. A big THANK YOU shout-out to Jonathan Fields for his posting about The Flinch. Wouldn't have known about it without Jonathan! Check out his blog and his book Uncertainty. He's a gem.

"The truth is that judgment and fear will never stop, but they don't actually do anything. There are no negative consequences for breaking the habit of flinching. Nothing will actually happen if you stop being afraid. You're free." - Julien Smith

Thursday, December 8, 2011

82. The Power of Celebrity

"Here's my big question to you and your generation of artists. It's a question that comes because we are now so very entrenched in a celebrity culture. Are you becoming an artist because you want the world to look at you? Or are you becoming an artist because you would like to use your ability to attract attention -- and the ability to get people to look at your work-- in order to cause them to see themselves and the world differently through you?" - Anna Deveare Smith, Letters To A Young Artist

"Why would anyone EVER want to be famous?" I used to ask. To my 16-year-old self the idea of having photographers following you around all the time, people constantly prying into your personal life and getting asked for autographs in the ladies room was tantamount to a lifetime prison sentence. Ick!

Yet, when you tell people that you want to be an actor...the first thing they say is..."Oh, you want to be famous?"

No. I want to ACT.

But sometimes acting does lead to a certain level of notoriety. It's the nature of the profession. The better you get at acting and the more people see you do it...well, they're going to remember you and recognize you. It's a natural bi-product of the work.

Though many of the trappings of "fame" don't sound particularly appealing to me... even now... I have shifted my opinion slightly regarding the allure and value of notoriety as an artist.

First...Celebrities and/or well-known artists have a fantastic advantage in finding creative fulfillment in their work... because they have what I like to call "artistic choice." This means that they've made enough money doing their work that (hopefully) they no longer have to worry... "How am I going to pay my rent if I don't take this job?!" Because their survival is assured, they can then focus on committing themselves to doing projects that excite them or challenge them... with people that they love or have always wanted to work with. How awesome is that?!

Celebrities have the power to lend their name to projects that they believe in and it will actually help these projects get funded and produced! What better position could an artist possibly have than to know that they've got the power to say "No, thanks. Not interested that project... But THIS one... now, THIS one is something I can really get into!" And to know in your soul that you're not doing it for the money, but for LOVE! How fantastic to be able to really follow your heart and not your pocketbook... not that every celebrity DOES that... but they could probably afford to, if they chose to... and it's "artistic CHOICE" that's so attractive to me.

Second...Regarding all that ATTENTION that famous people get... That can be very disturbing at times for them, I imagine, but it has certain advantages too I am realizing. I no longer think that being famous is as big a curse as I used to... However, I am not really interested in getting people's attention so that they will look at me... no, no, no... I want to get peoples attention so that they will look at whatever I am pointing to... Does that make sense? I would love to be able to earn people's trust (through my work) and that their care and attention to my work would also give me the ability share with them the causes and issues that I care about and I feel are under-represented, worthy of more attention, in need of someone to throw them some support and get the word out there!

For example, in just three weeks Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway raised $857,740 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. And this was because Mr. Jackman engaged with the audience in such a way that you felt he was your close friend during the show... you were totally with him. So at the end of the show... when he offered to auction off his sweaty undershirts from Act 1 & Act 2 for a donation of $10,000 a piece (gross, but true)... well, people jumped at the opportunity to give (he even threw in a kiss for one particularly generous female donor)...AND for a $2,000 donation to BC/EFA you could meet him backstage and take a photo together. Now THAT is using your celebrity to do some good. He's a HUGE star! He did NOT have to offer all of that... He could have done a 20 second post-show-speech and called it a night... but he went the extra mile and offered his own time...because he knew people would pay for access to meet him because he is FAMOUS and that donated money would make a HUGE difference to the charity! A-MA-ZING. Bravo, Hugh! Bravo! If I were a celebrity, THAT's the kind of celebrity I would be.

Third...It would be awesome to make a "famous-person's-salary." Because then I could probably afford to buy my Mom a house in Marin County like she's always dreamed of owning. And I could pay for my brothers' college educations, so that they wouldn't have to spend 20 years paying off their student loans (like most of us). And maybe I could afford to fly us all to Hawaii for a two week vacation where we could all learn to wind-surf and hike volcanos and sing together in the moonlight on the beach. And I could make sure they all have really awesome health insurance coverage, so that they can get the best care if they ever get sick...and not worry about how they're going to pay. Dream big!!! But for now...I just want to be able to make a decent living to start with...anything beyond that is gravy!

Soooo... for the three reasons explained above... I think I'd be willing to give up my anonymity and submit to the challenges of being "well-known."

Now... How to do something well enough to be "known" for? That's the question. Hopefully, grad school will help me find the answer!

In my own small way, I guess this blog is a way of throwing focus on things that I think are important to growth in the creative process.

Who needs fame when you've got the internet?!

But don't worry... I won't be auctioning off my sweaty t-shirts any time soon...probably never.



P.S. If you want to throw some focus on an organization you think is worthy of some attention. Post a comment on the bottom of this blog post and tell us about WHY you love this charity and why attention must be paid!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

81. Paid Vacation

You know what would be the most awesome day-off EVER?

Well, let me tell you...

I'd start it off by sleeping-in to the late, late hour of 8am.

I'd hop on the train and get a glorious hour-long massage from the loving hands and kind heart of expert massage guru Edan Harai of Kinetic Massage Therapy.

After that, I'd meet up with my dear friend and super-talented lighting designer Jake DeGroot, and we'd pop over to The Book of Mormon on Broadway. I'd laugh my a$$ off and jump to my feet with passionate applause at the amazing performance with all proceeds benefiting The Actor's Fund (my favorite charity organization).

After the show, I'd say bye-bye to Jake and then stop by Green Symphony and have a lovely time chillin' with my childhood friend and talented Broadway-up-and-comer Ms. Alysha Umphress, who will be opening On A Clear Day with Harry Connick Jr on Dec 11. Break legs, Alysha! Then it might be fun if singer/actress Dani Marcus walked in to Green Symphony and said hello... or if Angela Bassett (currently starring in The Mountaintop) walked in and sat down at the table next to us. How fun would that be?

I love New York.

Then...because one amazing Broadway show is really never enough...I'd head over to Venus In Fur and miraculously get a ticket from the "waiting list"... (The rest of the run being completely sold out!) I would get an AMAZING seat... E 102... Orchestra... On the aisle. Score! And I'd also miraculously have enough money in my bank account to be able to pay for this ticket. Double-score!

And then the show would be AMAZING and I'd wait around after... like a total FAN... and get to shake the hands of both Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy...'cause I would be the only one crazy enough to wait around in the pouring rain to tell them that they're awesome...which I hope they already KNOW. But it's good to be reminded of these things, I think.

Lastly...I'd head back home to Astoria, take a hot shower and blog.

This would be my idea of an amazing mid-week-paid-vacation-day from work.

...And that's exactly what just happened!!! I just got to experience my ideal vacation day for REALZ people!

Gotta love playing hookie.

Actually... I'd PAY to be able to have this kind of day... but luckily I don't have to because I LIVE IN NY!!! Thank you, New York, for making this day possible.

Move here and New York will give you days like this too. True story.

Plenty of New York magic to go around,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

80. Live With Meryl (8:45pm EST)

"Everything we say signifies; everything counts, that we put out into the world. It impacts on kids, it impacts on the zeitgeist of the time." - Meryl Streep

Tonight!!! 8:45pm EST. Meryl Streep is doing a live online Q & A discussing her latest film "The Iron Lady."

Ms. Streep is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and has gone on to create an acting career of unparalleled success.

This is gonna be fun, folks! Great actors talking about their work is sooooo inspiring.

Anyone wanna watch with me?

Click Here To Watch.

Looking forward to it, Meryl! Break legs!


"My success has depended wholly on putting things over on people, so I'm not sure that I'm that great a role model. I am, however, an expert on pretending to be an expert on pretending to be an expert." - Meryl Streep, Barnard Commencement Speech, 2010


Monday, December 5, 2011

79. Do Nothing

"Should you want to contain something, you must deliberately let it expand.
Should you want to weaken something, you must deliberately let it grow strong.
Should you want to eliminate something, you must deliberately allow it to flourish.
Should you want to take something away, you must deliberately grant it access.
The lesson here is called the wisdom of obscurity.
The gentle outlasts the strong.
The obscure outlasts the obvious."
-Tao Te Ching, Verse 36

Here's my personal addition to the above verse...

"Should you want to get stuff done, you must deliberately do nothing." - Virginia Wilcox

That's my current theory of accomplishment.

So far... I've given myself no goals for the evening... and I feel like I'm not really doing anything... no deadlines ... no pressure... no stress... no nothing... and YET... somehow I have managed to organically accomplish a ton of stuff I've been intending to do for a while... mostly having to do with cleaning and organizing my room and work-space (which have been a total disaster since the dawn of November a.k.a. the busiest month in living memory).

I loooove giving myself plenty of time to do things in an organic/not pre-planned way.

It's soooo much more fun to do something in the very moment that you actually FEEL like you are excited to accomplish that task... rather than FORCING yourself to do it because it HAS to get done or because you SHOULD do it.

It's like a brain trick!... By telling myself I don't have to do ANYTHING... I actually motivate myself to WANT to do things... but only the things I really wanted to do to begin with.

And... Since 2011 has been alllll about doing more of what I really WANT to do and skipping the stuff I don't really like, I can feel good about doing what I want to do because I know that's exactly what I SHOULD be doing. Doing more of what I love has made me a much happier human being... and I'm still gettin' stuff DONE.

So, anyway, I recommend being lazy and doing nothing... Try it! And see what fun stuff you can accomplish.


“Practice not-doing and everything will fall into place.” - Lao Tzu

Sunday, December 4, 2011

78. December Forecast

"When you find too much on your plate, only you can decide what is a priority, what is important, what you can delegate, what you can say "no" to, and how you can bring balance..." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

The December Shaman Forecast is up!

If you're like "What the heck is she talking about? Shaman Forecast?"...check out post #53.

The theme for December is Acceleration.

Time's gonna fly by and it's gonna be 2012 before we know it!

Enjoy 2011 while you've still got it.

Sooooo much good stuff this month!

Such as...

"Take time when you need to  rest and curl up into a cocoon of comfort." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Don't have to twist my arm with that one! I'm ON my way!


"I have the perfect amount to do, plenty of time and energy with which to do it, and what I do is exactly what I need and want to be doing."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

77. Stress Cadet

"Cut people slack...Their actions might not reveal their enduring character, but instead reflect some situation they find themselves in. Forbearance is a form of generosity." - Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Soooo yesterday was one of THOSE days at work. It was kind-of like "Opening Night" of a show. You know the sort of day where everything has been building up to this one final moment and you're in last-minute-prep-mode and everybody's excited and a little on-edge and anything that goes wrong feels like a crisis (but really isn't)? That was my day yesterday.

Here are some of my learning "take-aways" from my high-pressure day:

1. When the $h*t hits the fan, you want to be surrounded by quality people that you trust to help support you... otherwise, reaching out for help will only ADD to your stress, because you haven't established enough trust to know that they'll come through for you in your time of need.

2. Know that you are NOT seeing the bigger picture when you are STRESSED out, so give people as much slack and compassion as you can possibly muster... as your blood-pressure skyrockets off the chart.

3. Yelling will not help anyone do anything better/faster... It will just make everyone feel bad and if you are the one yelling... it will not make you feel any better either. So speak your words with care.

4. Take a step back before REACTING... breathe... take a walk... splash some cold water on your face (but don't ruin your make-up)... call a friend... have a snack... DO SOMETHING to get in a good headspace before moving forward. It's worth taking the time to do... even when it seems like there is NO TIME... Because you do NOT want to say something that you're going to REGRET.

5. Communicate what you need to get the job done... nicely... and be HONEST about where you are at. If you have too much on your plate... delegate... hand something off to someone you trust and give yourself some relief.

6. Don't deny it! People KNOW if you're stressed. They see it exuding from your pores... so just admit it, rather than trying to pretend you're FINE. It will feel better just to SAY IT. Then hopefully, you can feel like you can stop fighting, let the stressful feeling be what it is and move forward as best you can in the moment.

7. Say THANK YOU to everyone who is helping to make things happen before "show time." A little gratitude goes a looooong way in keeping everyone on the same page (including YOU)... that we're all a TEAM and working toward the same goal: an AWESOME & SUCCESSFUL event/show/presentation/etc.

8. Have a sense of humor. Make a joke!!! Laughter releases sooooo much tension. (P.S. I am TERRIBLE at this... I have such a hard time laughing when I'm stressed out, let alone making someone else laugh... but I LOVE it and appreciate it soooooooo much when other people are able to make me laugh and make light of "serious" situations... So I like to surround myself with those kind of quality people whenever possible...see number 1.)

9. Smile. Sometimes by moving those smiling muscles in your face... your attitude will take a clue and adjust itself. You can decide to have fun with the situation at any point...or be miserable...the choice is up to you.

10. Remember... It will all be over soon and you will be able to fall asleep on your pillow and wrap yourself in a blanket and dream of cotton candy and puppy-dogs again. That's something to look forward to.

11. You are doing a good job... the best you can. So be kind to yourself and take a deep breath. You are enough. You can get through it!!!

12. Shift your focus...Really... it's all about FOCUS. When you are focused on "not freaking-out"... you will only freak-yourself-out MORE... But when you focus on having FUN... then the "not freaking-out" will happen as a natural bi-product of having more fun in spite of the obstacles.

Easier said that done though...

And when you inevitably get caught-up in the stress-frenzy-high-pressureness of it all and totally "lose it" in front of everyone and make a total a$$ out of yourself... Well, you learn from that too... That you can survive FAILING BIG and that you can find some good "take-aways" from it (like 12 of them, to be exact)... and resolve to do better next time... because there will be a next time.


Gotta love pushing yourself to your limit... Otherwise... How will you know how far you can go?

Further and further.


"We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them." - William Arthur Ward